Bet365 braces for start of Australian trial; younger Aussies giving up the gamble

australia-competition-consumer-commission-bet365-The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) lawsuit against online gambling operator Bet365 is set to begin this month.

Last August, the ACCC accused Bet365’s Aussie operations of making “misleading representations” in their bonus offers to punters. Specifically, the ACCC cited a free bet and deposit bonus of $200 that came with rollover requirements.

The ACCC says these requirements weren’t made sufficiently clear and thus the promotion violated consumer law. The ACCC is asking the Federal Court of Australia to award it declarations, injunctions, pecuniary penalties, corrective advertising, a compliance program and costs. (Partridge in a pear tree to be delivered next Christmas.)

The Australian Broadcasting Company quoted Bet365 senior counsel Cameron Moore saying the company wanted to nail down the specific nature of the allegations before trial commenced. The ACCC has previously acknowledged that the Northern Territory-licensed Bet365 amended its promotions after being contacted by the ACCC.

Studies of the global gaming market usually place Australia at the top in per capita spending on gambling but new data suggests younger generations are choosing a different path than their elders.

Roy Morgan Research decided to study the gambling habits of Generation Z, which is defined as Aussies born between 1991 and 2005 (although the study only concerned itself with the 18+ members). The average Australian spent $13 per week on gambling, 9% of his or her weekly entertainment budget. But Generation Z spent just $4 on gambling, representing 3% of their budget.

Gambling was only slightly more popular with Generation Y (born 1976-90) at 4.4% while Generation X (1961-75) gambled away 7.7%. Meanwhile, Baby Boomers (1946-60) spent nearly 15% and Pre-Boomers (pre-1946) spent 21%.

The dominant form of gambling in Australia is the ubiquitous video poker (pokies) machine, which rakes in over half the country’s total gambling revenue. But pokies are having difficulty attracting younger players, much as younger players in the US have shown little interest in joining their elders parked in front of slot machines. This week saw Caesars Entertainment CEO Gary Loveman say slots were “antiquated as a category.”

It remains to be seen whether Generation Z’s relative disinterest in gambling is a permanent condition. Perhaps, as the numbers suggest, gambling spending increases with age and (presumably) more financial stability. But pokies operators have reason to fear. The average online gambler in Australia is around six years younger than the mean age of 39 years. So while younger generations may be gambling less, they’re spending more of their gambling budget online.

A final word about the priorities of Australian men from Jane Ianniello, Roy Morgan’s International Director of Tourism, Travel & Leisure: “Overall, a greater share of the total amount Australian men spend on entertainment each week goes towards gambling than it does for women — a trend that is evident across every generation.” Stay classy, Australia.